Michelle Loxton

Host and Reporter

From 2019 to 2021 Michelle Loxton worked at KAZU as an All Things Considered host and reporter. During that time she reported on a variety of topics from the coronavirus pandemic, the opioid epidemic and local elections. Loxton was part of the news team that won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for the continued coverage of the four major wildfires that engulfed California’s Central Coast in 2020.  Before moving to the Monterey Bay Area, she worked in the United Arab Emirates for almost five years as a reporter, host, news reader and producer. Her radio career started in her home country of South Africa where she worked in both community and commercial radio. 

Cal Fire

New reporting by NPR’s California Newsroom has revealed just how dangerous PG&E’s power lines are heading into this year’s wildfire season. The investigation also spotlights just how vulnerable the Santa Cruz Mountains are. KAZU’s Michelle Loxton reports.

Michelle Loxton.

When a massive wildfire tore through the Santa Cruz mountains last year, it destroyed close to 1,500 structures. When a structure is destroyed by fire, toxic materials can leak into the environment. Cleaning up these spills often involves scraping the earth and dumping it somewhere else. But a local group is trying a different approach. They’re experimenting with fungi, which they say has an incredible ability to remove and even heal toxic burn scars.

Stock photo by munshots via Unsplash

A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial was closely watched by many all over the world including right here on the Monterey Bay. Pastor Ronald Britt has been part of Greater Victory Temple Church of God in Christ in Seaside for over 30 years. He also spent 23 years as a deputy sheriff for Santa Clara County Department of Corrections. KAZU News spoke with Pastor Britt shortly after the verdict was read on Tuesday.

Austin Smith, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

A gray wolf made a brief appearance in Monterey County this week on a historic journey south from Oregon. His presence is also noteworthy for the agricultural community. Experts say spreading awareness about this protected wolf is essential in minimizing wolf-livestock conflicts.

Michelle Loxton

Not far from the UC Santa Cruz campus is a 40 acre forest plot. Students have been counting seeds and measuring trees on this plot for more than a decade. That data has been used in a new study that aims to understand what our forests will look like in generations to come. And the findings suggest that change is on the horizon.

Stock Photo by United Nations via Unsplash

This Friday (March 19) marks one year since the first statewide coronavirus stay-at-home order went into effect. To mark this anniversary, KAZU News spoke with five Monterey Bay residents to ask them what this past year has been like. They shared their highs and lows with us.

Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic many businesses have had to cope with closing and reopening as the state goes in and out of various types of lockdowns. But there are some businesses that have never reopened, either because they weren’t allowed to or because financial strain forced permanent closure. 



Monterey County is asking Governor Newsom for more coronavirus vaccine. Essentially, county supervisors are saying the current allocation process is unfair. KAZU News spoke with the Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Wendy Root Askew.


@sccounty on Twitter.


With last week’s winter storm behind us, damage assessments are underway. KAZU News spoke with some of the people who predicted what could happen with a rain storm of this kind to see if their fears came to fruition. 

UC Santa Cruz.

A group of linguists at UC Santa Cruz are on a mission to save a rarely studied endangered language. Through investigation and collaboration, they hope to preserve an indigenous language spoken by communities from Mexico now living in the Monterey Bay area.

National Weather Service

Fire season in California is now year round. That was very apparent locally when multiple fires ignited in Santa Cruz County late Monday, prompting evacuations. KAZU News reports on the weather conditions that precipitate wildfire.

Michelle Loxton.

Locally, staying at home has become the norm. But this forced constriction has brought to life the idea of flourishing within the boundaries of a smaller world. And one of the ways to do that is through backyard exploration -- going on an adventure in a familiar place. 

Kevin Cooper

The rainy season is upon us here in the Monterey Bay area and because of this summer’s major wildfires, the season will be accompanied with a significant risk of debris flows. KAZU News reports on the many local communities at risk.

Del Monte Assisted Living

Since the beginning of the pandemic, facilities that care for the elderly have been hot spots for the spread of COVID-19. And a new report says nationwide new cases in nursing homes have reached record numbers this month. Locally, some have been able to stop the virus from entering their facilities, but others have not.


Over the last month, counties neighboring Monterey County have seen a decreased spread of the coronavirus and have been allowed to drop restrictions on many businesses. That hasn’t happened in Monterey County. KAZU News explains the extremely complicated process of reopening.

Stock PHOTO BY Element5 Digital VIA UNSPLASH



Tuesday is Election Day and polling places look a lot different this year. The coronavirus has completely changed the in-person voting experience. KAZU looked into what pandemic election preparedness looks like. 



Monterey County’s four hospitals have joined forces again to talk about COVID-19, but this time with a caveat -- flu season is almost here.

Michelle Loxton.

Small business owner Jeff Gorman is one of the candidates running for California’s 20th Congressional District seat. Gorman is a Republican. This is his first time running for the House of Representatives.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta is one of the candidates running for California’s 20th Congressional District seat. Panetta is the incumbent Democratic. He is undefeated and running for his third term in the House of Representatives.

Michelle Loxton

Wildfires can have a lasting impact on the natural environment. New life can sprout from the ashes, but some things are lost forever. To understand the long-term impacts on the Monterey Bay area, we studied three examples: a beloved park, almost extinct birds and some famous trees.